Unsafe Premises & Property Negligence Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale

Each year, thousands of people suffer injury while on someone else’s property. While some of these injuries occur because of the victim’s negligent actions, many occur due to a dangerous condition on the property. Call an unsafe premises and property negligence lawyer in Fort Lauderdale from Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L.: 954-524-2820.

We have years of experience handling premises liability cases and can help you file a successful claim.

Property Negligence Accident Causes and Injuries

Some of the most common premises liability accidents occur as a result of many types of unsafe conditions. These conditions include:

  • Icy sidewalks
  • Wet floors
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Defective stairs
  • Faulty elevators
  • Potholes
  • Poor lighting

Whether it be a slip-and-fall or a chemical leak, dangerous property conditions can result in serious injuries. People may suffer injuries such as:

Determining Property Owner Liability

When determining whether a property owner is liable for damages, you will need to consider various factors including your status at the time of the accident:

  • Invitees: An invitee is a person who the property owner invited onto the property for a certain purpose, usually business-related (e.g. contractors, customers). The invitation may be reasonably implied or expressly stated.
  • Licensees: A licensee is someone who the property owner implicitly or expressly allowed to be on the premises (e.g., social guests, someone who comes in to use the bathroom but not buy anything).
  • Trespassers: A trespasser is someone who enters on to a property with no legal right to do so. (Note: There are undiscovered and discovered passengers, discussed later.)

Filing a Claim Against a Property Owner

In Florida, you need to file your premises liability claim within four years of the injury. To file a claim against a property owner for an injury that occurred on his or her property, you must be able to show that the owner is at fault for the injury. Courts will determine fault based on whether the owner was negligent in maintaining the property.

You prove negligence by establishing duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Duty Owed to Plaintiff

The duty the defendant owed the injured party will depend on the injured person’s status:

Invitees: Property owners owe the highest degree of care to invitees and must exercise reasonable care to make sure they protect them from dangerous conditions on the property.

They must also repair known dangers and take reasonable steps to discover unknown hazards. Property owners do not have a duty to warn of conditions that would be obvious to a reasonable person, unless the harm was foreseeable.

Licensees: Property owners owe a lesser duty to licensees than invitees. An owner must take reasonable steps to protect licensees from any known hazards, but does not have to take steps to find unknown dangers.

Trespassers: The duty property owners owe to trespassers depend on whether the trespasser was discovered or undiscovered.

The law does not require property owners to protect undiscovered trespassers from any known or unknown dangers. However, if the owner knows or should know of frequent trespassers (discovered trespassers), s/he may owe a duty to warn in certain situations.

Breach of Duty Owed to Plaintiff

Once you have established duty, you need to establish the defendant breached that duty. Generally, you must show that:

  • The property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused the injury;
  • The property owner failed to repair the condition; or
  • The property owner caused the dangerous condition.

Whether the owner should have known of the dangerous condition will depend on how long the defect had been present before the accident occurred and whether the property owner conducts fairly regular inspections of the property.

There are two different ways to establish a breach:

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Res ipsa loquitur presumes negligence even if there was none. Essentially, if you can prove that the property owner had total control over whatever injured you and that your injury likely would not have occurred without negligence, you can likely prove the property owner breached his or her duty by behaving negligently.

Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se makes it easier to prove a defendant’s liability. In cases where a property owner has violated a statute meant to protect the plaintiff, the defendant’s actions will automatically be a breach of duty. In order to establish negligence per se, you must prove:

  • There is a violation of the statute;
  • You are a member of the class the statute protected;
  • The statute was meant to protect against the type of injury that occurred; and
  • The violation was a proximate cause of the injury.

Our team will examine your accident to see if you have a case under res ipsa loquitur or negligence per se.

Causation

To prove causation, you must show that their injuries would not have occurred if it had not been for the defendant’s negligence. You must also show that your injuries were foreseeable according to a reasonable person.

We will discuss your case with experts who will help us prove that your accident was the result of the defendant’s negligence actions.

Damages

You must show that you suffered damages due to the dangerous property conditions. Medical reports, witness testimony, and expert testimony will help establish your injuries.

What compensation can I recover?

If you can prove that the property owner in your case was negligent, you may be able to recover damages to help pay some of your expenses. Damages may cover various costs such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship

While no amount of money can ever erase what happened, financial support can come in handy when your medical bills start pouring in. The lawyers at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. can help you build a case against the property owner responsible for your pain and suffering.

Call 954-524-2820 to discuss your claim today.